By Nicole Loughan
I’ve often hear authors say it’s demeaning to ask for reviews, it’s beneath them or just downright embarrassing. To the contrary, getting reviews are almost the single most important thing you can do for your books, they help give your work legitimacy, make you look popular, and more than anything they help with sales.
Selling a book without reviews is like trying to push a really heavy boulder up a hill. For each review you receive the steepness of that hill gets a little less. And once you have more than 100 reviews that hill barely exists and the boulder just needs a nudge.
With my own books, the Saints Mystery Series, I started with about four reviews, and those took a lot of groveling. I gave away my book in exchange for an honest review to bloggers and acquaintances who liked my genre. I ran giveaways on targeted websites and before long I had nearly 12 glowing reviews and a one star review that trashed me for daring to sell my books for money. That one star didn’t hurt, my average was over a 4.0 and that meant I could take those 12 reviews and turn them into cash.
How does one do that? With 12 reviews you are able to advertise at some of the best companies on the web, such as Free Kindle Books and Tips (fkbt.com) or Fussy Librarian (thefussylibrarian.com). The bigger sites, such as Bookbub.com, want to see far more; I did not run a deal with Bookbub until I had more than 26 positive reviews and today the number needed is even higher, some say up to 100. There is good reason for this. These companies are sought out by readers and authors as authorities on books that are actually good, and they don’t want to back a loser.
Think about how you personally buy anything. My husband won’t so much as look at a toaster unless he’s read a few reviews discussing how many crumbs it leaves on the counter and he knows if he can fit a bagel in the slot. Consumers rely on other people to know what’s popular and to be sure they are buying what they want. It’s much easier to have confidence in a purchase when you know 100 other people liked it.
If you wrote a book and you know it’s good, give a few copies away to the cause, then bite the bullet and ask for reviews. Reviews: good, bad or indifferent are as good as gold. Today Saints has over 1,000 reviews and the hill is back, but this time I’m at the top of it.
Nicole Loughan is the author of the Saints Mystery series mysteries bestsellers on Amazon.com. She is also an award winning journalist who writes features for two daily newspapers and is known as the syndicated humor columnist, “The Starter Mom.”